Note: The normal Easter Week activities that include the Passion Play have been canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Check out the info and all the photos below to see what normally goes on for Easter in the area.
Ajijic’s Easter Week celebrations center around the community-produced Passion Play, which in 2020 is in its 41st edition.
2020 Semana Santa in Ajijic Information
In 2020, Easter week takes place between April 5-12. Here is the 2019 schedule for the Passion Play and other Easter events.
Y la versión en español:
Palm Sunday — April 5
Palm Sunday starts with a special verbena de jamaica del pasado, a kind of old-time community potluck in the plaza with pozole, sopes, tamales and other traditional Mexican foods. All are made at homes in the town and sold in the plaza from 4 p.m. onwards and all the proceeds go to the production of the Passion Play.
Pretend civil weddings will also take place at the registro civil booth and kids will be competing for wooden toys from Tlaquepaque during games of the traditional Mexican lotería — basically bingo, but using images on cards instead of numbers.
The Palm Sunday procession, which portrays Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem a few days before the Last Supper, starts at 6:30 p.m. at Seis Esquinas (Six Corners) and proceeds east along Hidalgo Street for half a mile until it reaches St. Andrew’s Church near the plaza.
It’s a special procession because the entire route is covered with fresh alfalfa that turns the street green for six blocks. Jesus rides during the procession on a burro accompanied by the apostles.
An outdoor mass is held at 7 p.m. in the church atrium and at 9 p.m. the electricity is turned out in the plaza for 30 minutes, turning back the time to what it was like 100 years ago to live with only candlelight.
Maundy Thursday — April 9
The Passion Play’s portrayal of the Last Supper takes place at the volleyball court on the Ajijic malecón at 8:00 p.m. A torchlit procession then goes north on Calle Libertad, east on Hidalgo, turns north on Aquiles Serdan, crosses the highway and then proceeds up Tempisque to the foot of the hills.
Jesus speaks with his disciples on the hillside, representing the Garden of Gethsemane, before he begins to walk back down the hill with his followers.
He’s then apprehended by a group of Sanhedrin Temple guards who arrest him and bring him by torchlight to Ajijic’s main plaza for the Sanhedrin trial.
The procession to the plaza goes back down Tempisque, heads east on Emiliano Zapata and then south on Colón to the plaza, where the trial takes place at 10 p.m.
Good Friday — April 10
On Good Friday, the Passion Play starts at 11 a.m. in the atrium in front of St. Andrew’s Church with the trial before Pontius Pilate.
Take a look at this short video of 900 photos in rapid succession taken on Good Friday last year. You’ll also get a look behind the scenes of the actors getting ready for the day:
At about 1:00 p.m., the Via Crucis takes place. The actor portraying Jesus carries his heavy wooden cross through the cobblestone streets and to “Golgotha” (the hills north of Ajijic at the top of Tempisque street), where the crucifixion scene occurs. Along the way, he is flogged and collapses to the ground under the weight of the cross:
The procession arrives at the hillside about 45 minutes later and the crucifixion scene ends after about a half-hour. Everyone then heads back to St. Andrew’s Church, representing the Procession to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus is buried:
Holy Saturday — April 11
On Saturday, the portrayal of the resurrection of Christ and the Easter Vigil takes place in the atrium outside St. Andrew’s Church at 8 p.m.
Easter Sunday — April 12
Guess what? On Easter Sunday, nothing happens. Not even the Easter Bunny really visits, though some families do participate in Easter egg hunts and the like. There is an Easter Sunday mass and people celebrate with friends and family, and in other ways, but the Passion Play is over.
Last updated April 5, 2020
Photos of Easter Week
Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala
For a quick overview of what happens on Viernes Santo, check out this three-minute compilation of 900 photos taken last year on Good Friday in Ajijic: